May 11th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Dave Grohl on missing live music inspired a song title edition. Rock on.

“The coronavirus pandemic has reduced today’s live music to unflattering little windows that look like doorbell security footage and sound like Neil Armstrong’s distorted transmissions from the moon … Don’t get me wrong … I know that those of us who don’t have to work in hospitals or deliver packages are the lucky ones, but still, I’m hungry for a big old plate of sweaty, ear-shredding, live rock and roll, ASAP. The kind that makes your heart race, your body move, and your soul stir with passion.” There are perhaps no public gatherings more emblematic of what we’re missing during quarantine—and no events that seem more distant right now—than live music. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) in The Atlantic on The Day the Live Concert Returns. “It’s hard to imagine sharing experiences like these ever again. I don’t know when it will be safe to return to singing arm in arm at the top of our lungs, hearts racing, bodies moving, souls bursting with life. But I do know that we will do it again, because we have to. It’s not a choice. We’re human. We need moments that reassure us that we are not alone. That we are understood. That we are imperfect. And, most important, that we need each other.” (All My Life I’ve been going to concerts until Covid threw a Monkey Wrench into our world. Whoever comes up with a vaccine will be My Hero and we’ll all Learn to Fly again.)

+ The Foo Fighter’s “Times Like These” would make a decent anthem to play when concerts come back: It’s times like these you learn to live again / It’s times like these you give and give again / It’s times like these you learn to love again / It’s times like these time and time again. … Since we don’t have concerts, let’s at least have an edition of NextDraft with all song title headlines.

+ Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car: The first step back into live music will look a little different. Live Nation Brings Drive-In Concerts To Denmark.


Back in the USSR

“Events in the United States have unfolded more favorably than any operative in Moscow could have ever dreamed: Not only did Russia’s preferred candidate win, but he has spent his first term fulfilling the potential it saw in him, discrediting American institutions, rending the seams of American culture, and isolating a nation that had styled itself as indispensable to the free world. But instead of complacently enjoying its triumph, Russia almost immediately set about replicating it. Boosting the Trump campaign was a tactic; #DemocracyRIP remains the larger objective.” Frankin Foer in The Atlantic: Russia’s goal was never merely to elect Donald Trump. Now, Vladimir Putin is poised to complete the mission he began four years ago.

+ Under My Thumb: “Mr. Pence’s denial of this on national television, and his attribution of the denial to Mr. Flynn, put Mr. Flynn in a potentially compromised situation that the Russians could use against him.” Mary B. McCord in the NYT: Bill Barr Twisted My Words in Dropping the Flynn Case. Here’s the Truth.

+ I Fought the Law: “More than 1,900 former Justice Department employees on Tuesday repeated a call for William P. Barr to step down as attorney general, asserting in an open letter he had “once again assaulted the rule of law” by moving to drop the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.”


You Be Illin’

Pence spokesperson (and Stephen Miller’s wife) Katie Miller, “briefed reporters last Thursday without a mask outside a nursing home in Arlington, Va. Pence was there to distribute personal protective equipment to the home. The next day, Miller was removed from Air Force Two after receiving a positive test result … Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Debra Saunders, who was covering the nursing home event, noted that Miller at one point ‘coughed, then quipped that she didn’t have the coronavirus. I shrugged off the remark.'” WaPo: White House coronavirus cases highlight risks of officials not following federal guidelines. (You can’t intimidate the virus. You can’t bluff the virus. Bonus song: Cough Cough.)

+ Face the Face: “Not following” the guidlines is a bit of an understatement. Slate: “Mere hours after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for COVID-19, he was set to meet with a group of food industry executives who had gathered for a roundtable discussion in West Des Moines, Iowa. But before Pence joined them on the stage, someone came in and asked all five guests to remove their masks.” (Not satisfied with merely letting the virus run amuck, the Trump team is now actively spreading it themselves.)

+ Manic Monday: Meanwhile, Mike Pence is not in quarantine and plans to be at the White House on Monday.


Safety Dance

“When the coronavirus stalled society, the three families decided to keep their adjacent homes open to one another while remaining socially distant from all other neighbors, friends and acquaintances.” WaPo: Locked down together, three neighborhood families share teaching, Legos and everything else. (I linked to a related story over the weekend. I have a feeling these circles of trust will be the next phase of quarantining.) Bonus song: With a Little Help From My Friends.


Hungry Like a Wolf

“Trump’s ‘order’ was, in fact, the result of meat industry executives requesting his relief from legal liability for worker deaths. The number of slaughterhouse workers who have already died this year is on par with the number of U.S. servicemembers who have died annually fighting in Afghanistan over the last five years. Military personnel risking their lives to fight terrorism is one thing. How did the president arrive at the absurdity of requiring civilians to risk their lives for the sake of a particular food?” In WaPo: Jonathan Safran Foer: Meat is not essential. Why are we killing for it? This topic is one on which Jonathan Safran Foer has long been focused. But in the end, this isn’t an article about meat. It’s about people. “Perhaps what we’re really talking about when we use the word ‘essential’ isn’t the necessity of the service, but the presumed disposability of the person performing it.”



“On this day, the city, once a national center of steel manufacturing and now a poster child for industrial decay, was celebrating the groundbreaking of a new venture: Chill-Can, the world’s first self-chilling beverage can. Joseph Co. International, a California-based beverage company, had pledged to build a $20 million research and manufacturing campus and create hundreds of new jobs. Its motto: ‘The Ice Age Is Over!'” ProPublica: Welcome to Youngstown, Ohio, home of Chill-Can, the self-chilling beverage container you’ve probably never heard of. Officials have gambled millions of dollars and demolished a neighborhood for the product. Not one job has been created yet. (And you thought Ice, Ice Baby would be the title of this. Oh, hell nah.)


Industrial Disease

“Often it attacks the lungs, but it can also strike anywhere from the brain to the toes. Many doctors are focused on treating the inflammatory reactions it triggers and its capacity to cause blood clots, even as they struggle to help patients breathe.” Our foe is formidable. Doctors keep discovering new ways the coronavirus attacks the body.


Dancing in the Street

“But we do have the space. The vast avenues that span the length of Manhattan are echoing in silence. New York City is home to more than 6,000 miles of streets. Much of that is barely used by cars on a typical summer weekend, when many people travel. The streets will surely be only more barren this summer. And it is possible to close them to cars and give people room to walk, run, and bike. Especially during a pandemic, simply preserving public space is a profoundly high-yield investment in physical and mental health.” The Atlantic’s James Hamblin with a great take: Don’t Close Parks. Open Up Streets.


‘I Feel Good’ Monday

“Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead Monday to making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans, a plan that envisioned expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.” (I can’t believe I just included a story that features the idea of expanding the use of the DH in a feel good section, but I’m desperate for baseball.)

+ John Krasinski enlists some of his old castmates from The Office in the latest episode of Some Good News. (Krasinski started the show highlighting good news. Now he’s making some of his own.)

+ “The closure of schools in Brazil due to the coronavirus pandemic gave 11-year-old prodigy Gui Khury plenty of time to perfect his skateboarding skills as he became the first person to land a 1080-degree turn on a vertical ramp.” (But it’s still really cool that you learned to bake banana bread…)

+ Boy, 5, steals family car in attempt to buy a Lamborghini. Then a man with a Lamborghini shows up at his house.


Listen to the Music

What’s a music title edition of NextDraft without a playlist featuring all the songs mentioned? So yeah, here’s NextDraft: Times Like These.

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